Advantages Well trained, knowledgeable staff
Disadvantages Expensive, poor shop layout
|Frequency of visit|
|Value for money|
|Layout & presentation|
|Selection & range|
It is very silly but for some reason I couldn’t wait to buy my little boy his first pair of proper shoes.In my desire to do everything “right” I had avoided putting Alex in pram shoes and always made sure his socks and sleep suits were not too tight around his feet so hampering their normal development but by the time he was around 10 months he was cruising around the furniture at home and it was only a matter of days before he would be walking properly so off I went to my local Clarke’s. Why? Simply because my Mum had always made me wear Clarke’s shoes and they were the best, right?
The children’s department was on the 1st floor of the shop which I thought was a little badly designed as it means that people with prams and small children have to struggle up stairs but there was a lift so that was ok, although what they do if the lift is ever out of order I don’t know. The sales floor was large and open so it would pose no problem to mums with double buggies and there was a large bead board table in the middle to keep the kids amused.A smart and tidy young girl came over to offer assistance and enquired as to Alex’s walking abilities. Clarke’s now sell a shoe especially designed for crawling and another for cruising (for those without children, cruising is when they can pull themselves up and walk holding on to furniture but cannot walk unaided yet). She then measured his feet in both length and width and went off to get a selection of shoes suitable for his stage of development, which were available in his size.
She came back with 3 pairs of shoes and we tried on the pair we (I) liked the best. It was a little pair of lace up shoes in navy blue leather with a sole that curved up over the front of the shoe to protect it from scuffs as at this stage they are still doing quite a bit of crawling. They are also machine washable at 40° The assistant took her time and checked the fit and watched Alex walk to make sure they were comfortable. We were happy with the shoes so decided to take them.She went off and brought back a Polaroid camera to take a picture of Alex in his first pair of shoes and this was given to me in a presentation folder along with a booklet about caring for your child’s feet, which I thought was a nice touch even if it is designed to encourage parents to buy their kids first shoes from Clarke’s. There is also a card, which reminds me to get the fit checked in 6/8 weeks.
The cost of these shoes was £18.00. Yes that is quite expensive but at least I know these shoes fit him properly and will not damage his feet so I was happy to pay this.Seven weeks later I went in to get the fit checked fully expecting to be sold a new pair of shoes but no, there was still a bit of room for growth so they told me to check again in a few weeks.
Overall I was impressed with the quality of service and the knowledge of the sales staff and for this I am willing to pay a little extra, after all, he could be playing football for England one day!
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